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Infant and Toddler Parenting Resources

From toe walking to toddler tantrums, our expert therapists have put together several resources for parents or caregivers looking for ways to help your child during infant and toddler development.

Is your standard potty seat not working for your child? Included below are a few alternatives that may solve your problems. Don’t forget to provide a stool for their feet! When kids sit on the toilet, their feet should be supported with a stool; this allows for easier bowel movements.

Special Tomato Potty Seat

This seat has a very soft cushion and provides increased support for kids who need it. It comes in two styles: round and elongated.

  • Special Tomato Portable Potty Seat - Round
  • Special Tomato Portable Potty Seat - Elongated

NextStep Children’s Toilet Seat

This potty seat is great because the small child’s seat folds right up into the adult seat, allowing you to have one less piece of equipment floating around your bathroom. This seat comes in a round and elongated style as well, and each style comes in three colors to match your toilet.

  • NextStep Round Closed Front Toilet Seat in White
  • NextStep Children's Round Closed Front Toilet Seat - Alternative Colors
  • NextStep Children's Elongated Closed Front Toilet Seat in White
  • NextStep Children's Elongated Closed Front Toilet Seat - Alternative Colors

The SquattyPottymus Potty Seat and Stool

This is a set from SquattyPotty that includes a potty seat and a stool. The potty seat has a deep seat opening which may help some kids feel more secure when sitting on the toilet. The stool is designed to help kids achieve proper alignment while sitting on the toilet.

SquattyPottymus Kit

Making sure your child has the correct alignment and support when sitting on the toilet can increase your their  confidence with toileting and allow them to feel more comfortable.

If your child is having bowel and bladder problems; call us to see how we can help: In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400.

Even if your child has 20/20 vision, he or she could have vision problems that get in the way of learning.

According to the American Optometric Association, more than 60% of problem learners have undetected vision disorders. There are 17 visual skills critical for learning success, and 20/20 vision is just one of them.

  • Struggles with age appropriate fine motor activities such as buttoning buttons or shoe tying.
  • Struggles with reading.
  • Reverses numbers and letters.
  • Skips or rereads lines.
  • Loses place while reading
  • Headaches with school work.
  • Leans head close to writing or coloring activities.
  • Takes longer to copy information from the school board then typical.
  • Increased negative behaviors with writing or reading work.

One-fourth of all children struggle with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems. So how do you find out if your child would benefit from vision therapy?

Just come to LifeScape for a free screening.

Call us for an appointment: In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.

Sippy cups are certainly convenient and have their place, but did you know they’re not a necessary milestone for teaching your little one to drink? Most babies today move from a bottle to a sippy, and then later to an open cup. Sippy cups are actually a relatively recent invention, designed in the 1980s. Richard Belanger, a mechanical engineer, was sick of cleaning up messes caused by spilled cups. A few prototypes later—voila!—the sippy cup was born.

Even though sippy cups aren’t developmentally necessary, they do prevent having to clean yet another grape juice stain off the carpet. So why not use them? As with most baby gear, the message here is moderation, and choosing your cups wisely. Sippy cups have their place—and can save your sanity—and that's important too! But if a child is using a sippy cup the majority of the time, they’re missing out on some important development that could impact their eating and speech and language later on.

Here are some of the problems with the overuse of sippy cups:

  • Babies use a different tongue pattern to drink when using a hard spout sippy than an open cup. The hard spout sippy cup pattern is a less mature pattern than what they would learn to use with an open cup, and if they use it long enough, can prevent a mature pattern from emerging.
  • If used regularly over a period of time, a sippy cup with a hard spout can change a baby or child’s mouth shape. This isn’t to say occasional use here and there will deform your baby’s precious smile, but overuse for long periods of time could.
  • And maybe the biggest problem with sippy cups is this—if your child is only ever using a sippy cup, they are missing out on the opportunity to learn how to use an open cup, which is a big developmental achievement.

Teaching Open Cup Drinking

You can start teaching open cup drinking between 6-12 months when your child starts solids. Some parents find that using an open cup at home during already-supervised mealtimes is an easy way to begin. Start with a small, clear cup, and offer tiny sips of water at first while you hold the cup. Yes, your child may get wet at first as they are figuring it out. As your child becomes more used to an open cup, they will become better at it and will have fewer spills. They may also enjoy the independence and being a “big boy” or “big girl” by drinking out of an open cup like the rest of the family.

But What About the Car? Or a Restaurant?

There are certainly times and places when sippy cups are preferred. If you’re getting in the car for a drive or eating at a restaurant, you don’t want to have to worry about spilling. As long as you’re teaching open cup drinking as well, an occasional sippy here and there isn’t going to delay your child’s development. Just be smart about which cup you choose. Avoid the hard spout and instead choose a cup with a straw or a cup like the Wow or 360 cups that encourage your child to use a more appropriate tongue pattern during drinking.

Contact us for more information about oral motor skills for feeding. In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services.

Learn more about our occupational therapy services.

Being a new parent is intimidating. You leave the hospital feeling like someone forgot to give you the instruction manual that came with your baby. Surely they meant to tell you more than, "Never shake your baby" and "Always use a car seat," but on the drive home that's all you remember hearing.

As your internet search history rapidly fills up with things like: "how to soothe a crying baby" or "how to tell if my baby is eating enough" or "is green poop normal," survival is the only thing on your mind.

At some point during that first, sleep-deprived month, you remember that your friend or mother (or maybe it was your neighbor--who really knows at this point?) told you that your baby needs tummy time. What does that even mean? You're just supposed to put them there? What can they even do anyway? But you try it. You put your baby on his tummy... and the screams start immediately. You pick him up and start to wonder how in the world he could possibly meet those milestones in the baby book if he can't even make it one minute on his tummy.

Below is a snapshot of that progression--one child's journey on his tummy from birth to 5 months, and the major highlights along the way.

  • One week: You can safely begin supervised tummy time right away at home with your baby. Try putting him on his tummy once every time he is awake. He won't do much, but it will help him get used to being in this position.
  • One month: Your baby will start to lift and turn his head. Try using lighted or musical toys to get his attention on both sides.
  • Two months: Your baby can hold his head up for short periods, and may start to pull his elbows underneath himself. Getting down on the floor at eye level with your baby can help keep him active longer.
  • Three months: Your baby can push through his elbows to lift his chest off the floor. Soft-edged mirrors and toys hung slightly off the floor will help him lift his head higher.
  • Four months: Your baby may start pushing up onto his hands, and has probably rolled off of his tummy by now. Make a game out of rolling him back to his tummy each time, and suddenly one minute of tummy time can turn into ten!
  • Five to six months: Your baby is starting to explore their mobility. He may be rolling onto his tummy, trying to turn in circles, or maybe even scooting backward. Start placing toys just out of reach or using toys that roll away when pushed to encourage him to move around while on his tummy.

Not all babies will follow this exact progression, but if you feel like tummy time just isn't improving, ask your doctor about a referral to physical therapy. We would love to help get your child on the right track!

Call us for details: In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.

Learn more about our physical therapy services.

Having a picky eater can be a challenging obstacle for families to overcome. It is sometimes difficult to have a family meal, when a child is only willing to eat a few different food groups. A child may not like a food for a variety of reasons such as the appearance, taste, smell, or texture of a food. Here are a few little known facts and a few simple suggestions to present new and/or non-preferred food to some of our picky eating friends!

  1. According to the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) feeding approach developed by Kay Toomey, there are 32 steps to eating. This is broken down into 5 major categories: tolerate, interacts with, smells, touches, and tastes. Each of these individual steps is crucial in the successful introduction of a new food.
  2. While it may seem very counter intuitive, food play can be one of the best ways for a child to interact with and explore a new food. Engaging with a child and discussing the foods help them to learn more about it and they may feel more “safe” around that food. For example, if mashed potatoes are scary, play with them first! Make snowmen, or mice, or add some preferred foods into the mixture. This allows the child to smell, visualize, touch and manipulate the food before they eventually get the food to their mouth before licking, tasting or chewing the food.
  3. Food jagging is a very common occurrence with our picky eaters. This is when a child loves a food and requests it constantly. A few popular food groups are pizza, macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. During a food jag, a child will typically refuse this previously preferred food and will often become insistent on eating a different food. After some time has passed, the child will typically go back to eating and/or accepting the initial food. This can be very frustrating and confusing for families…but it is a normal occurrence!
  4. Food Chaining is a method that many therapists use to help with determining how to introduce new and non-preferred foods. The basic tenets of this principal are to take a preferred food and find very small ways to change it that help you to get to a non-preferred food. For example, a progression from eating yogurt to fresh fruit might look like this: Start with a preferred flavored smooth yogurt; progress to a yogurt with fruit chunks; then place whole food pieces into a bowl of yogurt; use the same bowl and place more fruit then yogurt; use the same bowl and place only the fruit with no yogurt. Each of the stages may take time, and that’s okay! Slow progression and introduction is best!

Learn more about our feeding and swallowing therapy services.

Constipation is a prevalent problem among children, but parents are often unsure whether or not their child is struggling with constipation.

Some common signs that your child is constipated include:

  • Going more than one day between having a bowel movement.
  • Having hard and small bowel movements. (Follow this link to see what your child’s stool should look like.)
  • Straining or pain when trying to have a bowel movement
  • Reporting frequent abdominal pain, discomfort, feeling full quickly after eating, bloating, or gas
  • Urinary leakage during the day, bedwetting, or bowel leakage during the day

Always talk to your child’s physician if you have concerns regarding constipation. The above symptoms may also have other underlying causes that need to be addressed.

Strategies for improving constipation include using perfect potty posture. Use of appropriate positioning on the toilet allows for pelvic floor relaxation which can assist with the complete emptying of bowel and bladder contents when sitting and also places the child in the optimal position for having a bowel movement.

This includes:

  • Sitting on the toilet with feet resting on a stool at a height that allows knees to be level with or slightly higher than hips
  • Leaning forward slightly with arms propped on legs
  • Focusing on having a bowel movement rather than being on a phone/tablet or reading a book
  • Sitting in the morning and after meals to try to have a bowel movement. Our bowels are most active when we wake up in the mornings and after meals.
  • Try having your child sit for 15 minutes after supper to try to have a bowel movement.
  • Use of breathing out while pushing to have a bowel movement. Many children hold their breath when having a bowel movement, which results in difficulty relaxing the pelvic floor muscles to successfully have a bowel movement.
  • Remind your child to breathe out while they are pushing. Using the imagery of blowing bubbles or birthday candles out can help children understand what you are asking them to do. Use of a pinwheel can also encourage exhalation while a child is trying to have a bowel movement.
  • Increasing water intake throughout the day. Many children drink a few sips of water from the drinking fountain throughout the day which does not provide adequate water intake. Aim for your child to drink half of their body weight in ounces of water each day, with that water intake spread throughout the day. Sending a water bottle to school can help with this. Example: If your child weighs 60 pounds, they should drink 30 ounces of water each day. Reminder: this entire amount should not be drank in one sitting.

If your child continues to demonstrate signs of constipation despite use of these strategies, talk to your his or her pediatrician about ways to more effectively manage the problem. LifeScape Rehabilitation Center also provides physical therapy services for children with constipation ages 5 and up. If you feel your child would benefit from this, talk with your child’s pediatrician. He or she can facilitate a referral to LifeScape for physical therapy services.

Call us for details: In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.

Learn more about our physical therapy services.

Whether you’re the kind of parent who fills out a baby book religiously, or one who documents milestones on Facebook and Instagram, it’s hard not to compare your baby to others. When you see someone else’s baby starting to talk, or when you fill out the questionnaires at well-child visits, you’re sometimes left wondering—is my baby behind?

We all know that babies mature at different rates and reach milestones at different times. But how do you know if your baby is just a late talker, or if there might be more to it?

Here are some speech and language milestones the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) notes your baby should be doing with speech and language:

  • Laughing and smiling at you – between birth and 3 months
  • Turning toward sounds or looking toward your voice – by 4 to 6 months
  • Making some sounds (usually some b, m, g or k sounds like ba, ma, ga, ka) – by 6 months
  • Responding to some requests like “come here” or “want up?” – by 7 months to 1 year
  • Enjoying games like pat-a-cake or peekaboo – between 7 months – 1 year
  • Babbling with a variety of different sounds like “mabatibi” or “babakade” – between 7 months and 1 year
  • Using some gestures to communicate (waving, arms up for “up”) – by 7 months to 1 year
  • Using 1-2 words (even if they’re not clear) – between 7 months to 1 year
  • Pointing to some body parts or pictures in a book when asked – between 1 and 2 years
  • Using more and more words every month – between 1 and 2 years
  • Starting to put 2 words together – by 2 years

If your child isn’t doing some or all of these things, don’t despair. Early intervention is available, and is key to helping kids make progress and improve their speech and language skills. The Speech Language Pathologists at LifeScape’s outpatient center are experts in speech and language development, and would love to help your little one learn to listen and talk. If you’re concerned that your baby might be behind, give us a call to learn more or schedule a free screening. In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services.

Reading to your child is a great way to stimulate language and to bond with your child. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their minds and expands their vocabulary. It will assist in developing expressive language skills, listening skills, attention skills and receptive language skills.

Children can benefit from book-reading even before they are speaking. For younger children, select books with minimal text and big, bright and vibrant pictures. By the age of 6-12 months, babies will enjoy books with reflective objects, shapes and colors. At this age, books should also contain meaningful age-appropriate words such as “mommy,” “daddy,” “bye-bye,” or “milk.”

As children get older and are ready for books with more language, you can look for books with predictable text or repeated lines. Books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly are good examples of these.

Children ages 1 -2 years enjoy books with 1-2 simple sentences on each page and any type of animal or vehicle sounds. At this age, children can learn to point to pictures in books (e.g. “Where is the dog?,” “Where is baby’s nose?”). Parents can begin to ask simple questions to children while reading books (e.g. “What does a cow say?,” “What’s baby doing?”). Expand these activities by having the child imitate actions in the pictures, or by repeating what they say back to them, with another word or two added for language development.

It’s never too early to begin to read to your child! Grab a book and cuddle up with your little one.

Looking for some recommendations? Here are some favorite books from a speech-language pathologist’s tool bag:

  • Moo, Baa, LaLaLa by Sandra Boynton
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
  • Slide and Find –Trucks by Roger Priddy
  • Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
  • The Mitten by Jan Brett
  • Go Way, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  • The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services by clicking here. Or call us in Sioux Falls at (605) 444-9700 and in Rapid City at (605) 791-7400.

Thinking about taking your kids to the races or a weekend music festival? One thing you might want to consider packing along with the sunscreen and sippy cups is hearing protection. Protecting your children’s hearing not only prevents immediate problems, but it also sets them up for healthy hearing habits down the road.

Believe it or not, you have hair cells inside your ears. These hair cells are key to your hearing, and do not grow back on their own. Scientists are working on ways to regrow them in a lab, but for now if you’ve damaged those hair cells with loud noise, it means there is permanent damage to your hearing. And hearing loss, especially at an early age, can contribute to speech and language difficulties, difficulty paying attention, and many other problems.

So when does your child need hearing protection? There are two things to consider--noise that lasts too long, and noise that is too loud. Here are some situations when hearing protection would be helpful:

  • Riding an ATV, snowmobile, dirt bike, or farming equipment
  • Attending a loud event like an airshow, concert, or auto races
  • When attending or participating in shooting or hunting events since gunshots can be extremely loud
  • Spending time near a parent while they work with power or yard tools

Hearing protection for kids can include either foam earplugs or earmuff-type headbands. Foam earplugs are generally cheaper and more widely available, but many retail stores carry earmuff hearing protection for kids too. You may need to try both to see which one your child will tolerate.

If your child is already suffering from hearing loss and needs therapy to address speech and language, sensory processing or other issues, give us a call. Our outpatient therapy programs have experience dealing with many different types and causes of hearing loss.

Contact us for more information. In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400. Or, email us at

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services.

Should I teach my child sign language? If I use sign language with my toddler, will he or she avoid talking?

The use of sign language is a great way for children to communicate before they are able to talk. It is appropriate for children who are typically developing and for children with developmental delays. Parents can start modeling signs well before their baby is babbling or talking, and children are able to produce signs much earlier than they are able to produce verbal speech. Signs can also augment speech production, when a child’s speech is difficult to understand. Current research indicates that the use of sign language helps to encourage speech and language development and does NOT prevent children from using verbal speech in the future.

Sign language can help prevent or lessen the intensity of behaviors or tantrums because it provides a way for the child to easily and quickly communicate requests, such as asking for more food or more of a fun activity with “more,” or asking to end an activity with “all done.”

Only a few signs are necessary to increase effective communication with young children. Always pair the sign with the spoken word it represents. In speech therapy, we often teach “more” and “all done” first, followed by “eat,” “drink,” “help,” and “bathroom/diaper.” It may also be helpful to teach a sign for a favorite toy or activity, such as “ball,” “baby,” or “bubbles.” The standard signs are best learned using a video dictionary or pictures. Young children may not be able to produce the sign exactly, so it’s ok to use any gesture that makes the most sense to you, as long as you are consistent in using the same gesture every time for that word.

If you have questions about your child’s speech or language development, contact a speech-language pathologist, or request an evaluation.

Call us for more details: In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400.

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services.

Some stuttering, or speech disfluency, is a normal part of development. Most children experience some short periods of normal disfluency as they learn to speak. Normal developmental disfluencies include repeating syllables or words once or twice, or using filler words, like “uh,” “er,” or “um.” These usually occur between one and one-half and five years of age, and disfluencies tend to come and go as the child moves through new stages of language development.

A child with mild stuttering repeats words more than twice and sometimes displays muscle tension and struggling associated with speaking. The child may also experience a “block,” which is the inability to produce voice.

In more severe stuttering, the child stutters more than 10% of his/her speech, demonstrates significant muscle tension, and appears to avoid speaking or avoid using certain words because of a fear of stuttering. Complete blocks are more common than repetitions, and stuttering tends to be present in most speaking situations.

You can help your child with stuttering by speaking calmly and slowly. Set aside some time for your child when you can listen to what is on his/her mind, in a calm and relaxed manner, without distractions or competition for your attention. If your child appears frustrated with his/her speech, it’s ok to acknowledge the difficulty and reassure him/her, such as by saying, “It’s hard to talk sometimes,” or “Lots of people get stuck on words.” It’s okay to talk about stuttering, and acknowledging stuttering lets your child know that you support and accept him/her.

If you have concerns about your child’s language development, contact a speech-language pathologist.

Call us for details: In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400.

Learn more about our speech-language pathology services.

Changes happen so fast when babies are growing and developing. One of the more exciting transitions is when they are ready for different stages of foods. It’s important to watch for signs that they ready for baby foods before starting. Most babies signal interest in food by watching and possibly leaning towards or reaching for foods that you are eating. This generally happens between 4 and 6 months. Also, be sure your baby has good head and neck control. When beginning baby foods, remember that some gagging is ok! Your baby’s gag reflex will move backwards on the tongue as the spoon continues to be introduced. As your baby begins eating more baby foods, remember to provide lots of different flavors. After he/she is swallowing baby foods without difficulty, you can add more texture. This could include moving up to stage 2 baby foods or mashing up banana, avocado etc. This stage sometimes goes quickly, and before you know it, your baby is ready to move on to table foods!

Babies are typically ready for table foods at eight or nine months. He/she may show readiness by grabbing at the spoon and wanting to self-feed. Another sign is when they can sit unsupported, eating baby foods without losing much out of the mouth. Small, chopped pieces of cooked vegetables or soft fruits (without skins or seeds) are good first foods to try. Your baby will likely be interested in self-feeding and will enjoy picking up pieces of food from their tray. Make sure to give only a few pieces at a time. A good way to teach chewing is to provide a hard munchable—a stick shaped food that your baby cannot actually bite a piece off of. This could be a large carrot stick or a frozen bagel strip. This helps with teething and encourages the jaw to learn a chewing motion – plus it’s great sensory input. Here are some other fun tips for this exciting stage:

  • Roll soft foods in crushed-up graham cracker to make them easier to pick up
  • Try giving foods in different shapes after he/she shows they can mash foods up well with their gums – i.e. provide foods in stick shapes so they can try holding and biting pieces
  • Try adding small amounts of different seasonings/spices, such as cinnamon
  • Let them explore various dips to encourage new flavors

It’s critical to ALWAYS supervise your child during meals and snacks. If you have any concerns with your child’s ability to eat safely, please reach out for an evaluation. Things to watch for include difficulty progressing to new foods, frequent coughing/vomiting/pain during meals, and difficulty manipulating foods in the mouth. These are signs that your child might need some intervention to help with successful eating and drinking. The final tip is to be sure you provide and model eating healthy foods from the very beginning. Bon Appetit!

LifeScape has an expert Feeding and Swallowing Therapy Team ready to answer your questions.

Tantrums come with the territory when raising a toddler. It can be difficult to take your little one out without someone (you or them) having a meltdown. Tantrums are normal and even expected during the early stages of development, but they don’t have to become a regular part of your routine.

It’s important to remember that children often have tantrums to communicate a want or need. They are very effective tools of communication, and are often more easily reinforced than extinguished. To minimize tantrums, you’ll need to teach your child the skills to appropriately communicate their wants and needs. This may be verbally or with the help of an assistive communication device—like a picture card or even a gesture. Be sure you respond to your child’s attempts at appropriate communication immediately; this lets them know what gets your attention, and potentially gets them what they are asking for.

Conversely, it is important to communicate with your child that whining and tantrums are not going to get them what they want. The most effective ways to do this are to 1.) pre-teach appropriate attention-seeking behavior when they are calm and attentive and 2.) completely ignore all inappropriate attempts at communication. This is difficult to do in the freezer section of the grocery store while fellow patrons stare at you and your child, but it is important to remember that consistency is key. The more regular you can be with attending to desired behaviors, the clearer it will be that tantrums will not get your child what they want.

Another way to prevent tantrums in public settings is to give your child a small job to do to help make the outing more enjoyable. This could be something as small as pointing out all the items with labels of their favorite color. It is also helpful to bring along a small bag of toys and activities to engage the child during situations that may be exceptionally boring. Remember, children have not learned to manage their emotions when faced with mundane tasks and they will create entertainment any way possible.

It is also important to know when to seek additional help. Some signs that you may need additional help are:

  • A child who is often inconsolable
  • Several tantrums a day, making it difficult to complete even simple tasks
  • Violent tantrums
  • A child who is unable to communicate their wants or needs due to speech and language delay

Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns, or call LifeScape at the numbers below to get help from our one of our clinical psychologists.

In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400.

Children typically experiment with walking on their tip toes between one and two years of age – after they first begin walking. Every couple of steps may be on their toes or they may walk on their toes for several days, but children should outgrow this quickly.

By three years of age, children should begin walking with a more mature walking pattern. This includes placing the heel of the foot first and pushing off their toes. If your child is walking on their tip toes for long periods of time, you should ask your health care provider for a more detailed physical exam.

While there can be many reasons for idiopathic toe walking (ITW), one cause can be abnormal bone growth. Another can be weakness in your child’s tummy and/or leg muscles. Walking on the toes allows the child to lock the ankles, knees and hips in a straight position and reduces the work that the muscles do. Toe walking can also be one of the first signs of a sensory integration disorder, which can be evaluated by a pediatric occupational therapist.

Toe walking can cause problems and pain for children, by putting abnormal stress on the bones and ligaments in the knees, hips and lower back. Over time, bones can grow incorrectly and/or ligaments can be overstretched. Toe walking can cause excessive tightening of some muscles and weakening of others. Children then are at risk for injuries and joint pain as they grow older, and often will struggle with walking long distances or participating in physical activities for longer periods of time.

Treatment for toe walking includes evaluation of the movement in your child’s foot and ankle and observation of how your child walks without shoes or socks. A physical therapist that specializes in ITW may use stretching and strengthening exercises along with gait activities to promote a typical walking pattern. Serial casting is a process involving repeated cast applications that may be utilized when other therapy activities are not successful in decreasing toe walking. Supportive orthotics may be recommended to help maintain improved gait in conjunction with idiopathic toe walking treatment.

Call us for details: In Sioux Falls, (605) 444-9700. In Rapid City, (605) 791-7400.

Learn more about our physical therapy services.

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